An Oxford University student who stabbed her lover could be kicked out of the university, despite a judge suggesting she could avoid prison.
Lavinia Woodward, a 24-year-old medical student, admitted knifing paramour Thomas Fairclough in a fury.
She also punched him and hurled pieces of glass at him after an argument in her rooms at Christ Church, one of Oxford’s most prestigious colleges, turned violent.
Woodward confessed to the attack in court – but many were shocked when the judge of the case said he may decide not to send her to prison.
Ian Pringle QC described her as “extraordinary” and “able” and said prison could be “too severe” for her, because it would ruin her dream of becoming a heart surgeon.
As Heat Street reported, victims’ rights advocates complained that the prospect of a violent abuser being allowed to walk free was unjust.
Some suggested there was a double standard at play, and that such leniency would not be shown to a man who had stabbed his girlfriend.
However, it emerged this weekend that Woodward’s career could come to a screeching halt anyway – as Oxford could expel her regardless of her punishment.
A spokesman for Christ Church told the Sunday Times that it would make its own decision about her future, regardless of judge’s decision.
He warned that Woodward’s actions had been “extremely serious”, while the newspaper reporters that she was already on a final warning after previous trouble with illegal drugs.
Without a path to continue her studies at Oxford – and with the court case hanging over her – Woodward could struggle to qualify as a doctor anywhere else.
Elite universities have been kind to criminal students before, and let them continue their studies.
Charlie Gilmour, the son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, was jailed for violent disorder after taking part in a student protest which saw him defile a war memorial by swinging from a Union Flag attached to it.
Despite this, Girton College, Cambridge, let him come back and finish his degree.